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After long years of waiting, the Salida Film Festival has returned to an eager audience.  Salida SteamPlant’s Arts and Culture Supervisor, Patrick O’Brien, viewed around 50 emerging films as part of assembling this year’s film festival, scheduled for May 12-15, 2022.

Patrick O’Brien Salida SteamPlant Arts and Culture Supervisor. Courtesy image

In the past, the event consisted of previously picked film “packages” that toured around the country.  “This is the first year that we are an ‘authentic’ festival,” remarked O’Brien who received a helpful Blueprint 2.0 grant from the Colorado Office of Film, Television & Media, enabling him to access this level of curation.

“This was years in the making.  I really wanted to make sure that the films addressed topics that reflect a diversity of interests,” says O’Brien, who deferred the festival for the past two years of COVID-19 pandemic, in order to assure its quality and the ability for attendees to view the films in-person as the pandemic waned.

The range of films is also a testament not only to O’Brien’s passion and vision for the festival, but also his extensive experience in the entertainment world.  He spent years in Los Angeles working in the industry before moving to Colorado to work at the Sie FilmCenter, helping to curate their festivals for nine years prior to moving to Salida.

Still from the film, “C’mon, C’mon”

The films presented this year are varied and span from a dramedy that touches on mental illness with Joaquin Phoenix, to cinematic documentaries and to an animation narrated by Keira Knightley.

The Celebrate Local Cinema portion of the event embraces the burgeoning talent of our regional creatives.  Each participating filmmaker will present a short clip of a current or recently completed project and share their motivations, process and challenges.

Salidan, Julie Jackson, who created the Emmy Award-winning RMPBS docu-series, Colorado Experience, will debut her documentary, Native Horses.  This film delves deeper into the Native American relationship with the horse, debunking previous ideas of when and how this indigenous culture began working with this animal.  Jackson will also host a script reading of a rom-com she is pitching to the television and streaming industry.

“This is my first fictional endeavor.  The pilot takes place in Salida with the backdrop of all of the outdoor activities that happen here,” offers Jackson.  She encourages local actors to contact her to take part in the script reading.

Additionally, moviegoers can enjoy several films in about 70 minutes through the documentary shorts packages which feature films that cover a plethora of topics and range in length from 4 to 40 minutes.

The Salida Film Festival will be building its screening committee for future festivals after this year’s event. The hope is that the 2023 festival will open for film submissions.

Tickets are on sale now, available online or from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the SteamPlant Box Office, 220 W. Sackett Ave.  $80 gets you the full package of all 50 films, or you can also pay individually for particular events.   See the SteamPlant’s website for thorough descriptions of all of the films and workshops.